MBA Admissions Rounds

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Learn About MBA Admissions Rounds 1,2, & 3

By Nellie, IvyWise MBA Admissions Counselor

Much like undergraduate admissions, there isn’t just one application timeline for MBA students. In fact, applications are generally broken down into three distinct admissions rounds, with submission deadlines that range from September to mid-April.

When it comes to choosing which admissions rounds you wish to apply during, there are several factors to consider. Keep reading to learn more about the various deadlines that prospective MBA students must keep on their radar, as well as tips for managing your time for different admissions rounds.

Get Familiar with the Basics

While specific timelines may vary from school to school, generally MBA rounds are as follows: Round 1 deadlines are in September or October, Round 2 deadlines are in January, and Round 3 deadlines range from March to mid-April. Generally, it takes students about one year to prepare for the MBA admissions process, so it’s important to get an early start if you’re interested in attending business school. On a similar note, preparing for the GRE or the GMAT typically takes students at least 6 months, including practice tests, building a study schedule, and penciling in time to retake the exam as needed.

Determine Which Round is Right for You

Other than differing deadlines, what sets the different MBA application rounds apart? Generally speaking, Round 1 is best for students who have a strong GMAT score, good grades, solid work experience, and have engaged their recommenders. If you feel like you might not have all of these materials ready by the fall, it may be advantageous to consider Round 2, which is better suited for applicants who feel like they can still make meaningful improvements to their overall profile. Finally, Round 3 is often the most competitive round because there are only a limited number of spots still available. The final rounds are used to fill out the class with extraordinary, diverse candidates that are not already represented and that will bring a different perspective to the classroom and have a compelling reason for applying at this time.

Get Ready for Admissions Interviews 

Your work isn’t over once you hit submit. Although MBA applicants should definitely give themselves a few days to recharge, it’s important to get ready for admissions interviews. Generally, invitations for interviews are usually sent out 4-6 weeks after you submit your application, with final decisions following about 3 weeks after that. Use the time between application submissions and interviews to your advantage by researching interview questions, understanding the interview format at your target schools, preparing your answers, and completing mock interviews.

Start Thinking About Your Decision

Once you’ve received final decisions from the schools you have applied to, it’s time to start thinking about where you want to enroll. Many MBA programs host Admit Weekends or Welcome Weekends to help prospective students immerse themselves into the school culture and community. These events give you a chance to assess your fit with current students and future classmates, meet administrators from the career office, student life, academics, and other departments on campus, as well as the opportunity to explore the city and potential housing options. Generally, Admit Weekends for Round 1 take place in January, with matriculation deadlines 1-2 weeks later, and for Round 2, Admit Weekends are often in April, also with matriculation deadlines usually a week or two later.

The more students know about the timelines for MBA admissions, the easier it will be to pinpoint when to get started and what to prioritize first. If you’re considering applying to business school and looking for personalized guidance, our team of admissions experts can help you throughout your MBA application process.

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